HK TV Series Worth Watching

This is the Hong Kong list, as promised in the other post.  This will be longer, mostly because I started watching HK ones first. And I also started this two years ago but didn’t launch it until now.

Ancient:

A Tough Side of a Lady – Mulan story going haywire. YET consider it a comedy and enjoy it for its humor. Wong Hei and Marianne Chan made such a cute couple in here.

Better Halves – A fun, light-hearted (for the most part, lol) drama. Nice collaboration between Steven and Maggie.

Destined to Rebel – Ignore the history and you’ll enjoy this since the cast’s really nice to watch. Tragic ending yet it wasn’t too lame.

Heroic Legend of the Yang Family – I don’t remember much anymore, but it was indeed a grand production that was worth it.

In the Realms of Joy – Many people might not even remember or care about this but I thought it was one of those best comedies because they managed to include major and minor characters into the plot. I hate it when they kept focusing on one or two persons SO it would get boring so fast.

King Maker – Was surprised. There were times that it veered off the road, BUT I guess compared to some recent ones, had to say it was good enough.

Lethal Weapons of Love and Passion – This was an adaptation of Huang Yi’s novel, which had gone haywire somewhat because of the alterations in characters and plot in general. Nothing new because adaptations could never match that of the original author’s intention and it often had to do with the capability to do it or not. But regarding characters, I think they did it on purpose with making some people ‘too good’ so as not to damage some reputations. (PUH-LEASE.) I wasn’t so against the cast though I had my doubts regarding some people. YET I watched anyway since I just love those ancient series and how it was wuxia too. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it.

Mystery of the Parchment – Some stuff didn’t make sense. Yet it was one of those if you don’t pay attention as much, you end up enjoying it for its ancient setting.

Road for the Heroes – Half comedy and half-serious. But it still retained some of the ancient feelings that didn’t make it corny at all.

Road to Eternity – This was surprisingly good without ruining it too much. This has a lot of Buddhism in it (obviously) and Zen stuff.

Safe Guards – What can I say? I’m a sucker for the Steven and Wayne team.

Square Pegs – The ending sort of killed it. Yet I guess it couldn’t be any other way. But it was too frustrating. Still worth the time with some parts though.

Swordsman Lai Bo Yee – It was quite draggy at one point too. But the overall was pretty good for an ancient one.

Ten Tigers of Guangdong – Major production from ATV. Can’t say there weren’t frustrated moments. But it was somewhat worth it with those series back then.

The Buddha Jin – One of the earlier adaptations of Ji Gong that was worth it.

The Commandments – I used to hate it when I was little since I didn’t get why people were so gossipy, etc. YET I learned to love this little comedy later on for its intention.

The Duke of Mount Deer 1984 – Interestingly, it was the version that got all the chronological orders right with how the main dude met all the girls/women in his life. Though the personalities and plot elements had gotten lost for some people. (YES, I’m technical so sue me.) There was also the start of the whole ‘Andy and Tony’ team that had grabbed the audience over the years when they reunite in another movie/series. Oh yeah, Elaine Chow Siu Lan actually got a role worth mentioning in that one.

The Gentle Crackdown II – One of the rare times that the sequel was better than the 1st part. Maybe because some parts made a lot more sense.

The Great General – The sequel of “Heroic Legend of the Yang Family”. Wasn’t super perfect, but was really interesting for the most part, not to mention excellent acting from the majority of the cast.

The Greatness of a Hero – One of the rare surprises of recent years.

The Hunter’s Prey – Despite the ending that left some of us felt like we were choking but the overall plot wasn’t bad. Eddie Cheung got sacrificed as usual but what else was new? (YET people still dare to say that he just got sacrificed recently just to boost some younger faces. YEAH RIGHT, he got sacrificed a longgggggg time ago. STOP making it into some stupid fan war to bash the new generation.)

The Legend of the Condor Heroes 1982 – Actually a big and long production that was worth it? The plot got shuffled around a bit but I guess the overall wasn’t too bad. (Don’t convince me how phenomenon it was or how “classic” it was, I watched it! Like more than 10 times too. AND then read the book right afterward so I know what the hell got shuffled and sacrificed. Despite being a grand production, it wasn’t that accurate either. IF you have the resource, at least DO IT RIGHT.)

The New Adventures of Chor Lau Heung 1984 – Despite the fact that it distorted sooooooo much from Gu Long’s novels, except for some parts, it was pretty good if look as a totally different series. (AND don’t even get me started on how they tarnished Gu Long’s vision of the actual story, the point got missed major time but turned into a popular route instead, which was a super shame BECAUSE those who watched this first will never appreciate the more accurate adaptations of the later years. OR should I say the ones that came before as well?)

The New Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre 1986 – Let’s just say, the first part of the parents’ generation was much more interesting than the rest. YET it was okay overall. You just watch for the cast ’cause if you really think about it, it was kind of frustrating at times. Not to mention it had distorted some parts and characters.

The Return of the Condor Heroes 1983 – OMG, it was more accurate to the novel than the first part. That was what made it even better to watch. (NOT saying it was better than part 1 here because technically this is just part of the trilogy, just saying it was more accurate hence making it even more enjoyable on its own.)

The Slicing of the Demon – Another surprise in recent years. Maybe because it didn’t go the typical, formulaic route with playing safe and all.

The Smiling, Proud Wanderer 1984 – OMG, this was awesome from the music to the acting, etc. Honestly, CYF was awesome as LHC. The story got shuffled around, some characters were tone down to be more endurable YET they sacrificed others to make a certain character looked better. But like that was news. The overall was good if you skip around more. Then I just did a re-watch of recent and I found the ending unendurable. I swear, NOT picking on this BUT XAJH is technically my favorite (after DOMD) BUT TVB killed the ending. (YES, it was so dragging with them trying to make heroes out of the lamest characters.) It’s sooo sad that they never do a correct adaptation for this one OR the casting is so off. I don’t know if there will ever be one that actually does the novel justice, BUT even this version didn’t satisfy me. Despite awesome acting with some people. AND oh yeah, the song that became the drive for LCH’s journey was practically forgotten halfway through already. OR maybe a third way through. What the hell was that? Then I pulled myself together and reminded myself that at least it focused on jianghu related stuff more than on the soaps side (cough cough). Not to mention they didn’t cut out some of my favorite characters just to make room for some characters that only got 2-minute fame in the actual novel.

The Two Most Honorable Knights 1988 – Umm…the cast made it good. I don’t know. There wasn’t much to go on because they butchered the plot. Once again, Gu Long got robbed but what else was new, right? I hated the whole ‘merge in characters’ for some people. I heard the ’70s version was more accurate but I can’t be sure since I didn’t watch that yet. And there was also the whole thing with me not finishing the novel yet.

Vampire Expert II – Those traditional vampire capturing stories. Great stories of various sorts, but also included some comedies as well.

Where The Legend Begins – Only some people made it good. Yet it was an interesting take from the other side of the whole ‘three kingdoms’ stories.

Pre-Modern:

Au Revoir Shanghai – NOT because I liked most of the cast involved. That helped. But I thought it was well thought out. In fact, most Shanghai related series are good. I said ‘MOST’, NOT ‘all’.

Coincidentally – The first series that Frankie and Annie paired up together–despite the fact that they’ve been in several series together already.

Fist of Fury – It was awesome! One of those ATV classics.

Good Against Evil – I loved it. Not only because of Deric but how the plot seemed to have a mixture of mystery, comedy. etc.

Phoenix Rising – I was surprised to really enjoy this. A lot of gray areas come into play. And sometimes you really wonder if you should take some people’s words for it. Some were obvious, but others were hard to figure.

The Charm Beneath – One of those surprisingly good ones. Regardless of the cast. Or if the plot might be frustrating at times.

The Legend of Dragon Pearl – OMG, I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. The comedy was mad and random, but it was really charming because of everyone’s acting. OR more like most people’s acting.

The Price of Greed – Despite some poor acting in place, the plot was really good. It had really carried out some chilling effects with all the plots and schemes.

The W Files – Sci-fi/detective/crime-solving one. Pretty cool actually since it addressed a mixture of cases that had to do with the phenomenon side.

Thou Shalt Not Cheat – OMG, it was a riot! Despite some frustrations here and there, the series was good overall. The comedy wasn’t too over either.

Modern:

A Great Way to Care – Ignore the somewhat lame title since it was overlooked somewhat because of that. I didn’t regret diving in though I had my initial doubts.

Black Heart, White Soul – Need I say more? It’s been a while since I enjoyed something so this one had to be placed in after I was done with the series.

Catch Me Now – One of the surprisingly good ones. YET the ending sort of killed it. But I guess it wasn’t the worst of them all when it was trying to kill the main character.

CIB Files – The only series ever that I could like Bowie Lam. (Don’t know why, just that he always seems to be intimidating regardless.) It was creative in the way it was shot at the beginning and led us into the story. The office dramas were reflected throughout and it was fun to see. Though the Wong Hei and Maggie Siu pairing was kind of odd but wasn’t the worst and was still cute in a way.

Cross Border Daddy – Inspirational one. NOT perfect since there were quite a few parts that could do without. Yet it turned out fine.

D.I.E. – The first one was enough. There were mixes of madness among other things since most characters were quite weird. Yet some of the foundations got ruined in the later parts, especially near the ending. But it was decent overall.

Family Man – I lost count on how many times I watched this already. Quite meaningful though not flawless. A good mixture of comedy and romance.

Forensic Heroes I & II – YES, I listed 2 as well because I still liked it despite it sacrificing some characters. The cases were all right.

Forensic Heroes III – MOST people were against it because of its link to the previous installments but it was really decent for a standalone series. There were glitches within the plot (like most TVB series) but it was NOT that terrible like some claimed.

Hearts of Fencing – A light-hearted, youth drama. Many might not care for it. But I thought it was worth watching if you want to reminisce about the old school days. AND for the first time, the ages of the students weren’t off since they used some fresh faces (at the time) to fit the roles.

Just Love II – It honestly was better than part 1 for some reason. Since the foundation was better with some clarifications. And perhaps I rather deal with Johnson’s Mr. 13 than some annoying ‘father-in-law’.

Last One Standing – Quite intense and mind games were involved. The deception and conspiracies from both sides were quite nerve-wracking at times. Yet worth it.

Life Art – Many will disagree since it seemed so average. Yet I felt it was one of those light-hearted ones. There were dramatic moments that the characters went through. But overall, it was really genuine.

Master of Play – Psychological theme, and other dark themes. Add in some more art. NOT everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s one of those that forces one to think about life in general and the choices people make (and much more).

My Date With A Vampire I, II, & III – YES, I’m the rare one who liked all three. Though there were parts that could do without and there were frustrations, I think I valued it for the story, the acting, and interesting interpretations at times. (LOL!)

Not Just A Pretty Face – Hilarious!

Odd Man Out – MOST people probably didn’t remember this or might not know of its existence. It was one of those nonsense comedies but didn’t go into the ‘lame’ boundary.

One Step Beyond – It was mad random and bordering on nonsensical at times. But it managed to capture some of the unpredictable at times.

Placebo Cure – I was surprised since I didn’t think much of it when it came out. But I checked it out anyway later.

Project Ji Xiang – I’m a sucker for those ghost-related ones. Not to mention it was a decent one overall with the plot NOT moving too fast or too slowly.

Reincarnated II – Didn’t watch the other version, and didn’t read the novel either, but enjoyed the series overall.

Seed of Hope – Loved it, very meaningful and not too much. Though I hated some of the ending stuff that happened to Kenix’s character, I tried to just erase that part for its traumatic effects. Patrick and Kenix also made an interesting pairing.

Shade Of Darkness – Ghost revenge type of series. Surprisingly interesting.

Speech of Silence – Another surprise.

Steps (aka The Whole City Is Dancing) – Steven & Bernice. AND Wayne. NOT the best since the ending sort of killed it. But decent overall.

The Brink of Law – Quite exciting and actually unpredictable at various points.

The Ghostbusters Gang – It was mixed with comedy and ghost-related stuff. But really nice to watch the cast battle it out at times.

The Hero From Shanghai – Good Gallen and Maggie collaboration. Didn’t realize they had so much chemistry and were quite cute together. There were also nice fighting scenes, lol.

The King of Yesterday and Tomorrow – Fun, time travel drama. Loved the cast and acting.

Tiger Cubs – Short and simple. The end.

When Heaven Burns – A major surprise for me. Many things I already mentioned in the review since I actually did a long one for the series, but it honestly was worth it. Some might not like it because of the ‘slow’ pace but I didn’t think it was slow at all. Sure, there were times that I got impatient but I was worried the ending would get ruined. But the details were essential for later parts.

Who Is The Killer – Old, but good overall.

Sitcoms:

Be My Guest – It was sooo long ago, but I remember loving it.

Off Peddar – Despite the fact that the ending ruined it, it was pretty good overall.

Welcome to the House – Some of the cast annoyed the world out of me, but the rest made up for it. And besides, it was mostly a senseless comedy so I didn’t really mind.

NOTE: This list will be updated from time to time. Also, the list is by alpha order AND not by significance. And this will also be included in the “Helpful + Fun Posts” in case anyone’s interested.

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ATV’s Who Is The Killer

I haven’t watched anything that inspired me to blog about it in awhile. At least not the HK related ones. Yet this one just made me jump to blog without caring if it was good or not. I meant I started writing since I started the series and continued watching on throughout. Hey, ATV addict alert, so yeah…always so good to see the old gang portraying different roles. Not to mention it was a cop one so I was glued from the start.

Main Cast/ Characters:

  • Stephen Au as Bat Ga Yung (畢家勇) aka Bat Sir (畢Sir). It had been a while since watching a Stephen role that was worth mentioning. Glad that I stumbled upon it. Anyway, he was clever and witty. But that didn’t mean he was so into the cases that he forgot to live his life (like as often portrayed with those main guy cop roles). We got to learn more about him throughout and between the cases. For instance, he was such a good chef that he would use his delicacies to bribe his team to work harder, lol. Then it was later revealed that he used to be a chef at some restaurant hence his good culinary skills and laid-back nature. He also had a spunky sister (who was kind of on the nut side, lol).
  • Joey Meng as Bonnie. A cop role and not to mention a stubborn, kind of smart-aleck one. YES, fitted all of her usual roles at times, mostly the stubborn and smart-aleck combination. Yet it was different because she was not a pro like some of the other ones yet still ran her mouth at times. It didn’t mean she was not good at anything though since her advantage of being transferred from the Missing Persons Department helped them and got Bat Sir quite impressed with her during the first meeting (after the initial fallout since she was late to the crime scene). Her comments at times and her analysis helped drive the case forward also. ‘Cause her perspective was different from them so it helped with some missing details or how they would think too complicatedly about certain matters. Her connections definitely helped also. Though she was from a rich family, but she was not spoiled at all, kind of sarcastic at times, but not rude or plain disrespectful to anyone on the team. Then there was her huge appetite that made it so hilarious. We also learned that she was allergic to flowers when her lawyer boyfriend sent her some flowers and she sneezed on sight and even tossed it into the trash afterward.
  • Yung Kam Cheung. Finally a role worth watching after years. I meant I remembered him portraying bigger roles for ATV than the usual for TVB. BUT like that was news so let’s not even go there, right? A very sharp character, always knowing his way around and proved to be a great senior for Bonnie and others. Though it seemed like there was not much background information on him but his history came forward with the third case regarding how he became a cop because of his brother.
  • Yeung Chak Lam as Uncle Kong. One of my favorite veteran actors and funny that I don’t remember seeing him in modern series as much as ancient. Really enjoyed his performance as the veteran cop in here, knowing his way around yet trying to adapt to the changing technology around him. And this was proving to people that he honestly didn’t need an exaggerated script or like super ‘breakthrough’ role to make his character shine without trying too hard. He had his own part in the team and how his character was so brilliant yet sarcastic made it so hilarious. It was interesting to watch him portray a comedic character–at least off-work. Then professionally, he was just so brilliant and cunning. People nowadays were so dept on wanting an important role and the right script, but he proved that he didn’t need those ‘overhype’ roles to make his character interesting. It was all about good acting, NOT those caviars.
  • Gilbert Lam as Robert. Cute. LOL! Though projecting a nerd look but he still managed to make his character so charming and brilliant at the same time. He didn’t appear much but I loved the little that he did since it managed to bring forth some hilarious and/or witty exchange between him and the rest of the team. Though he was not really considered to be a main character, since he was part of the team, I just wanted to include him.

The Team:

  • The bond between the four main characters. I loved it that they could get so random that it turned into being ridiculous yet also maintained its charm between the cases. Their conversations filled up the character background and some developments throughout.
  • Uncle Kong and Bonnie. It was funny how he often used his ‘veteran’ status to ‘teach’ her. LOL! It was really funny and not overly done. Like she was willing to admit that he was right though they didn’t say as much (or it would be overkilled). Or he would be willing to admit that she had some talent. But then there were signs that he was willing to help her with all his sincerity at times, like opening that one drawer for her. Or how she was giving him compliments.

Pairings:

  • Stephen Au and Joey Meng as Bat Sir and Bonnie. It was funny that she was joking about following him for the rest of his life upon tasting his delicacies. And that was messed up that his sister teamed up with the others to play a trick on him regarding how she said she confirmed that Bonnie liked Bat Sir. LOL! I had a hard time believing that she didn’t like him though since she seemed really suspicious. Plus how she reacted upon knowing about his sister, she got all friendly instead of somewhat of an awkward situation and somewhat wanting to distance herself from the so-called ‘girlfriend’. If there were more episodes, they might have gotten together? Still funny.
  • Gilbert Lam and Joey Meng as Robert and Bonnie. I found it interestingly cute that he was introducing himself to Bonnie before proceeding to tell them of what he found out through the search on the computer (while they were discussing some details of the case). Then there was also the part where he was roused up in the middle of the night by the others to search some information for them, so he was getting kind of touchy (but just slightly) because they kept rushing him. But when Bonnie made a request for him to zoom into the photo, he said, “Anything for you” with a smile. That was cute all right. (This reminded me of Crossborder Daddy though this series was before that. Need to hunt down past series where they were actually a pair–and for a longer time than that of what happened in Crossborder Daddy. Were there any?)

Cases:

  • Case #1: A warm-up, right? Seemed too easy. Catfight, kidnapping, accident, murder, and cover-up. But it had some character development with the main cast and how each used his/her talent to work the cases. Sometimes it didn’t take technology to solve it, but brainwork. Average regarding complexity but showed that they didn’t need to rely so heavily on technology to solve the case.
  • Case #2: I think it was supposed to be Case #1 since they were focusing on this one serial killer but got side-tracked ’cause of the copy-cat schemes from the other one. Sad, very sad ending really.
  • Case #3: It really emphasized the point of the bonds between the sworn brothers yet too bad someone had to use their trust for his own benefit. Quite meaningful and touching on some levels.
  • Case #4: Tragic to death.
  • Case #5: Great one since it was very confusing and complex with how everyone was moving the body around. A lot of brainwork involved.

Careless Bits (YES, they had these. Though I’m an ATV fan but I’m not delusional, I know when they’re not perfect.):

  • GLOVES. Hello, people. They were going to get their fingerprints on there too if they handled the evidence found at the scenes like that. Though during the first case, it was shown how they were carefully using a pen to lift the hair out of the bathtub but might want to wear gloves to make sure it was not contaminated. (Weren’t they prepared for anything when they were doing a house search?) Then during the second case, I noticed how Bonnie was being scolded for not wearing gloves. It made sense since they had to be careful. Yet what was odd was they only wear gloves or seemed to be wearing gloves when they were investigating the crime scene like the first time during discovery. Then other times, it was like they didn’t need to or didn’t care to. Not sure. But should’ve been more careful than that.

KEEP IN MIND:

  • Time frame so NOT as advanced technology. So you might want to check it out for the cast (or some of the cast) BUT don’t be stumped by the outdated technological tools/devices/gadgets. PLEASE keep in mind it was 1996. What did you expect?

Even though it was really short but I really liked it–regardless of its careless flaws at times. There was more brainwork that made up for it. Then there was also the lack of side-story. YES, people might think that it was annoying with so little of character focus with the main cast and there were no love relations–at least not so intense like other series. Yet I found it really nice that way since I hate it overlapping cases, making it a romance more than a cop story. So that was good that they didn’t stretch it out to the point of annoying on relationships. They managed to get in character development with the main cast throughout. It wasn’t like anyone of the cast was robbed yet they still created a vivid personality for each. Through the cases and some side conversations, we know of their personalities. So it was a great one for me with most of the focuses on the case.